The first photograph I made that I considered a success, from the summer of 1982, when I was fifteen.

My great-grandfather Henry Haskin, born Aron Chazankin in 1889 in Romny, Ukraine, died in 1984 in San Mateo, California. He lived through anti-Jewish mob violence in his home town, which he fled to avoid serving in the Russian imperial army in the First World War, made his way through Siberia, China, Japan, eventually to Alaska, Seattle and San Francisco. According to the story he told, after arriving in San Francisco with no money, no contacts, nothing at all, he approached a police officer and asked in whatever English he had, "Where do the Jews live?" The officer thought and replied, "Jews?...anywhere." And this answer was the reason he settled in the city. I made this portrait at age fifteen, in the summer of 1982, the last time I saw him.